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SVSU hosts conference for occupational therapy

On Friday, April 19, SVSU’s Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) hosted its annual SOTA Conference in Curtiss Hall.

This year’s event was organized and planned with Shelby Ward, an Occupational Therapy (OT) master’s student, who served as the co-chair of the conference. Destyni Walker, who is also an OT master’s student, is currently the vice president of SOTA and also helped plan the conference. SOTA is an organization that provides students with leadership opportunities, community service projects, professional connections and community of support.

“Our goal is to advocate and educate our student body and community on OT as we offer OT students opportunities to develop as leaders and professionals,” Walker said.

The SOTA conference provided an entire day filled with presentations and talks from OT students and professionals.

It was heavily geared toward people in the field of OT, but the general public was welcome to attend the event if interested.

“The event opened with our keynote speaker, Doug Szczepanski, who is the recipient of this year’s SVSU Veteran Alumni Award,” Ward said. “Students attended breakout sessions on topics in OT and listened to student presentations on Occupation Based Kits and Graduate Research Projects.”

Andrea Dasky, an OT master’s student, has attended the conference for the past two years.

This was her first time presenting her own work.

“I was nervous about presenting my Occupation Based Kit at first, but once I spoke to the first person, my speech became second nature,” Dasky said. “It was also very interesting to talk to clinicians because they have so much insight into the field currently.”

In addition to the keynote speaker and student presenters, the conference featured approximately 25 OT professionals that led breakout sessions on a diverse set of OT topics.

“Our speakers committee, headed by (Walker) and second year Sabrina Seales, did an amazing job this year at getting new speakers to talk about topics the conference has not seen yet,” Ward said.

Ward said the conference could not have gone as smoothly as it did without the help of all the students in SOTA and their advisor, Aricka Schweitzer.

Walker and Ward hoped that everyone who attended was able to leave feeling like they had a better understanding of the field of OT.

“I hope that everyone who attended the conference learned something new about OT,” she said. “I also hope that it inspired clinicians and students and made them even more excited about OT.”

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